When I was in high school and sitting in math class, I noticed that someone who had class in the same room during another period — most likely a girl because of the large rounded, bubbly print — had written two letters on the desk: Hi. So I wrote back — and soon, our shared desktop was covered with a conversation. Then, one day, she wrote her name: Kim.
My friends, adolescent testosterone and nerd-ness surging through their bodies, were jealous and full of fantastical ideas. “What do you mean you don’t know who Kim is?” one of them asked — and he then proceeded to fill me in on the deeds, the actions, the beauty, and the popularity of the notorious Kim.
At the end of the school year, as I was unpacking my locker, Kim passed by and I said, “Um, Kim? Hi. I’m Kevin, the guy from the desk in math class.”
With her California tan and eyelashes mascara-ed out to here, she looked me up, she looked me down, and she simply said, “Oh.” She snapped her head and spun her body — a move that broke all the rules of physics because, despite the speed of her body, her blonde hair moved in slow motion and then resettled itself, perfectly, across her upper back and shoulders — and she walked away. With Kim’s one-syllable response, our year-long conversation came to an end.
When I started this blog, all of the gurus and guides stressed the importance of researching your blog niche and to look for top blogs and to comment. That’s how I discovered A Way to Garden, the number one gardening blog in America — and for good reason. There was information, calendars, humor, advice, giveaways, photos — so, so much. And then there was the style and design and professionalism of the woman behind the blog, Margaret Roach.
I knew Margaret’s name from her work as the first garden editor at Martha Stewart Living and then editorial director of other projects within the Martha Stewart organization — and so I wasn’t surprised with the quality of the blog’s presentation. Not only did Margaret have class, she was at the head of the class.
I wondered, did I — could I — even approach the most popular girl in the blogging world? Was Margaret my new Kim? Did I want to be that kid who wrote on a desk for a year and then was ultimately rejected with an “oh?”
With the blog gurus as my guides, I commented on Margaret’s posts. I tried to offer something to the conversation, but somehow I always seemed to fall flat. If there was a way to stumble over words while typing, that’s what I did. Doubt. Anxiety. All those adolescent insecurities. They all bubbled up. Maybe I was out of my league. Maybe this was the Kim scenario all over again.
Or maybe I needed a more professional venue — so I approached Margaret on LinkedIn. No response. I guess this was the “oh” moment.
Months passed — until I received a LinkedIn notification and a short emailed note, an apology from Margaret for not accepting my connection request sooner. “She wrote back,” I wanted to shout. “She wrote back!” But . . . now what? I’m terrible at small talk, but was I also terrible at small — what would you call it, these days? — texts? Tweets?
My opening came soon after on Twitter, when Margaret, listening to an evening serenade of frogs, tweeted: “Apparently nobody told the frogboys out back that mating season officially ended here already. Croaking up a storm today.”
I sat down, my fingertips on the laptop. This was my chance to make an impression, to say something of value, to stand out from the gardening crowd. I typed back to her: “With the moon and stars as our light, the time for love is always right. :)”
I debated back and forth. Send. Don’t send. Send. Don’t send. Send.
The response came back — three exclamation points. What did that even mean? My heart raced, my stomach flipped — this was Kim’s physics-defying spin all over again. Were Margaret’s exclamations a symbol of alarm? Laughter? Mock offense? Or the worst: a digital “oh?”
I tweeted back right away, fingers racing across the keyboard: “I hope you didn’t mind. I just couldn’t resist. Hope things quiet down for you. Be well and enjoy the day.” Nice save in 140 characters or less, I hoped. Whew!
Weeks later, the email of all emails arrived. It was from Margaret, and although it was addressed to all garden bloggers in her garden blogger group, I like to think it was addressed specifically to me. It was an announcement and a question. Her newest book, The Backyard Parables, was scheduled for release in mid-January and would you — me? — be interested in participating in her blog tour to promote it?
Like she had to ask? To say that I was thrilled, excited, honored — well, words could not, cannot even describe how it felt to be a part of something that I didn’t quite understand. I mean, what’s a blog tour? Was she going to travel to my garden for an interview? Was I driving north to her garden? Would we be traveling on a cross country bus, like rock stars?
All I knew was that Margaret asked and I accepted. There was no looking me up and no looking me down. Nor was there a crushing dismissal. Instead, there was a “blog tour,” and that sounded so much better than “oh.”
42 thoughts on “Margaret Roach: My New BFF (If Only In My Mind)”
now this sounds exciting! Congrats on your new BFF.
Well, I can’t speak for Margaret — but it is for me. 🙂 Enjoy your day!
Fantastic! Can’t wait for Wednesday.
PS I’m glad to hear of your social networking success. I’m attempting to resurrect my twitter account – which was never really alive, anyway – and feel far too often discouraged and overwhelmed. I will keep trying, though. You have given me faith!
Hi Jenny. I must admit — I really don’t understand a lot of social media. It’s a definite process. I’ll probably review my social media experiences in a future post. I jumped in with both feet and there were times when I needed a life preserver. 🙂
Ha! I look forward to that eventual post.
This reminds of high school in the same exact way….lol I wrote a comment on Margaret’s website a few years ago, had the no response moment too… Hahaha… Congrats on the invite… How fun to be on that position… I loved her first book cant wait to read the next….
Hi Virginia. I’m sure Margaret is a very busy woman — and in no way can she respond to all comments. But it doesn’t really matter. Each of her posts speak directly to the readers, and her voice and personality come through in every word. I’m sure you’ll enjoy her newest book — my review will be Saturday’s installment. Thanks for commenting.
Kevin- this is is exciting! I too am a big Margaret fan and have had a secret crush on her for years! I’ve been looking forward to Margaret Roach week since you announced it. She’s too cool and I always felt a kindred spirit. I waited weeks for And I Shall Have Some Peace There to be released. When it finally arrived, I savored every word. She made it ok for me to trade in my Brooks Brothers and Burberry for Carharts and Timberlands. Have fun– so jealous here. 😉
Mario!! I know what you mean. I am positively giddy over this whole thing. All I do is walk around the house and tell Joe, “Margaret said this and Margaret said that.” I wonder if she would consider producing a poster that I can hang up on a closet door? 🙂 She is truly an inspiration. Hope all is well with you.
Kevin, ” Hi”…..I have been to Margaret’s garden every year(sometimes twice) since 2008. She is a gracious, lovely woman & a gardener’s inspiration to me. She autographed my copies of her first 2 books & am waiting to receive ‘Parables’ this week. Good luck with the interview, I know you’ll enjoy talking to her.
Hi Dennis. I feel the same way, although I have never actually met her in person. There’s so much about her life that inspires me. I’m very grateful and thankful for this opportunity. Glad you stopped by, and thanks for commenting.
Kevin, This post is hysterically funny! When it comes to Margaret I can relate to all the insecurities…why did she comment to Hercules from New Zealand and not me? Did my post on the snake gross her out and she’ll never read my blog again?…etc! Because I work p/t for an indie bookstore, I have been reading the galley of the book! A keeper! Don’t rush through – read is slowly so it doesn’t go by too fast!
Hi Jayne. Excellent reading advice! The truth is, how could she possibly reply to everyone who comments? When you’re the woman behind the number one gardening blog in America, I’m thinking you’re pretty busy. Either way, I appreciate all that she does.
What a fun post! I hope you and your new BFF do get together – in person – and preferably a garden – hers or yours – and have hours of titillating conversation. Hope you both have fun on the blog tour!
🙂 Imagine if the blog tour meant that we traveled cross country on a tour bus? In all seriousness, I think I would be a mound of Jell-O if I ever met her in-person. This must be what it feels like to be a Justin Bieber fan. 🙂
Sounds good to me, see you Wednesday..:-)
Hi Marguerite. Hope to you see you there! 🙂
Hi Kevin, wow, you got an invite, to something you don’t know what is and have accepted, how exciting! Can’t wait for next chapter! I must admit, even though I have a twitter account, I used it for 3 days just when I opened it and that was it – 2 years ago. Not really for me!
Hi Helene. If the only good thing that came from Twitter was the chance to “speak” with Margaret, then it was a good thing. There’s a lot about the technology that I just not grasp — other than people telling me, “Oh, you have to have a (fill in the blank) account.
Oh, how fun!! Can’t wait to read more!!
Hi Jane. Thanks for stopping by. It should be a fun week.
Kevin, I am so excited for you. What a beautiful post on describing how your were thinking through your process of tweeting her as it reminded you of the “oh” girl! Loved it.
Hi Alesia. Many thanks for your kind words. Hope all is well with you.
By the way, I have just started tweeting and am so confused with it! I am following you now though..: )
Thanks for the follow. Don’t worry about being confused. I’ve had to consult with my students, and I still have questions. Just have fun.
Now that is funny. WE have to ask our younger generation how to do everything these days it seems. My son has been teaching me to use the ps3 so I can watch my “dvd” movie collection. haha
Love , love your blogs! Funny, interesting, and beautiful photos. Do you allow visitors to your garden? I have also signed up to receive Margarets’ blog and will read her books. Thank you!
Hi Lesley. Thanks for your kind words. About the only visitors that come to my garden, other than family and friends, are squirrels, slugs, and bees. I’ve never participated in an open garden event — but it sounds like an idea for my bucket list. Thanks for the idea!
Great story, Kevin! And I am looking forward to meeting Margaret. I once tweeted Steve Martin. End of sentence. But one of my tweets was retweeted by one of my favorite radio station personalities. I floated on that for days! 🙂 I think I need to read Margaret’s blog, or should I wait for a formal introduction on Wednesday, perhaps.
LOL. It doesn’t matter if you peek at her blog now, or wait for an introduction — you’ll be hooked. And let’s not even get started on the books. Lots of good stuff.
OMG! Realy?! I’m so excited for you that I can’t breathe! Trusting that there will be some mention of the aerodynamics of her hair in your commentary.
I’m afraid you’ll have to wait and read. 🙂
Kevin, I cant tell you how much I enjoyed your post. As much as I enjoy my blogging about my experience in gardening it does fill me with insecurities. Especially when it comes to commenting— did I say too much, will they think I was trying to be funny or smart or twee. Also if I often comment on someone’s blog and they don’t visit me should I think they would rather I didn’t bother. (I know, get a life!) Twenty four hours later I will be saying, I wish I hadn’t clicked this send button.
LOL. I have a feeling we’ve all been there and will continue to be there. It’s very difficult to know how our comments are received without the luxury of facial expressions and tone of voice. I can read my comment in one voice, but the receiver might “hear” it with a different voice. Our only choice — keep on commenting. I’m glad you did.
Holy Cow, that is THE suck-up of suck-ups 😉 That must be one large plinth that you have her on…she is just a woman, but as I recall adolescence, that may be the problem.
I hope your questions are as extraordinary as the story…
Hi Reed. I left adolescence a LONG time ago, so this may be a mid-life crisis. I was completely flattered to be included in her list of garden bloggers participating in her blog tour. Stay tuned for the interview. 🙂
Kevin, honestly, you really are like the devil with holy water sometimes (this is an Italian saying literally translated, I’m not sure you’ll get it). Anyway a blog tour? This really sounds good, I’m looking forward to reading what happens next (so I could understand what a blog tour is).
Hi Alberto — I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure it sounds much more beautiful in Italian. 🙂 I wasn’t sure what a blog tour was, either — but the concept is pretty interesting. More to come. 🙂
Kevin – felt like going down in a lift to get to the bottom of your lively on-line readerships. I thought I was gong to comment on the Parable book and why I garden. ….instead, am now intrigued by a blog tour. What up?
The responses have been amazing! I appreciate the sentiments in each one. As for the blog tour. . . I was able to link up with Margaret Roach through various social media outlets (explained in the previous two posts). She then contacted a group of garden bloggers and asked if we would like to participate in a blog tour for her new book. I admit, I had no idea, but could I really decline? In short, a blog tour is a kind of digital tour, in this case for a book. Bloggers could run a review, an interview — things that could help promote her book. I chose to devote a week to the honor. A very cool experience. Glad you stopped by. 🙂